Wood floors are beautiful. They come in a variety of types, these days. Some are better than others at resisting stains and moisture. But all of these floor types need to be cleaned often. Here are the basics for keeping each type of floor clean without a lot of hassle.
For general cleaning – daily, if possible – dry mopping with a microfiber-cloth sweeper is the best method to use. This will sweep up the dust that accumulates and will keep the floors basically clean.
Vacuuming also is an effective way to clean wood floors on a regular basis. Just make sure to use an attachment that won’t scratch the surface.
You can do a more-thorough cleaning with a damp mop. You don’t want any dripping water, just a damp sponge mop or damp cloth mop. This will pick up more dirt and dust. If you need to add a cleaner, you can make your own by mixing a little very mild liquid dishwashing soap and warm water. Anything more harsh can dull the finish, and you never should use anything abrasive.
For deeper cleaning, you really need to know what type of finish you have on the wood. If it is a surface-sealed floor, then you have to remove the finish to take care of spots and stains. This probably is something you want to hire a professional to do. If the finish is wax, then you can remove the wax, clean the floor and reapply the wax. If you have a lot of wood floors, you may want to invest in a cleaning machine so you can do more cleaning and polishing yourself. This kind of maintenance is something you don’t need to do more than maybe once a year or so, but it is something you can do yourself with a little practice, and it can save you a bundle and keep your floors looking amazing.
Add throw rugs in heavy-traffic areas to avoid problems. Just make sure you pick them up when cleaning so dirt doesn’t collect under them.
Q: We’ve lived in this house for almost 30 years and never have had any flooding in our basement. The only moisture problems we’ve had are just a musty smell and occasional excess humidity. I’ve always tried to find where the moisture is coming from, but never could. What do you suggest I check? How is it best controlled? – M.J.
A: To find out if the moisture is coming from the inside of the room or the outside, you can tape a small piece of plastic directly onto a concrete surface like an exposed wall, sealing all of the edges. Then check it the next morning. If you have moisture under the plastic, the problem is coming from the outside. If the plastic has condensation on the top of it, then the moisture is from the inside of the basement. Are your pipes insulated? Cold-water pipes running through a warm basement can create condensation, and this might be an interior moisture source. Add insulation to stop this from happening. You can install a vent fan to draw moisture from the room and exhaust it outdoors. You can control it with a dehumidifier. I hope this helps. Good luck!
Gel Grip Handle Wrap Tape is a cool tool add-on that we recently ran across. The tape is injected with gel that gives it some cushion. You buy it by the roll (1¼ inch by 6 feet) and then use it to wrap around some of your tool handles like your lawn mower, shovel, hammer and other tools. It’s easy to install and this gel cushion helps absorb vibration and shock, especially when working for long periods of time. One roll would cover most of your tools. You’ll love it, and it even improves your grip. Look for it at your local hardware store or home center. We have seen it at Walmart and Ace Hardware. It’s made by Tommyco and is widely available.